Surge flow at Medano Creek at Great Sand Dunes National Park.

With Colorado mostly known for its rugged mountainous peaks and being entirely surrounded by land, you may find yourself laughing at the notion of there being any great beaches found anywhere within the state. But you’d be surprised at the variety of unique Colorado beaches. 

Have you been itching for a beach vacation? Who knew you could find one right here in the Rocky Mountain state. As it turns out, there are several great beach destinations where you can take your family all throughout the summer that have all kinds of recreational activities to do in and out of the water. 

It also doesn’t matter what part of the state you’re visiting, because they’re scattered throughout. These are just a few of the best beaches in the state of Colorado that you should strongly consider paying a visit while you’re there.  

Kids building sand castles at the beach at Medano Creek at the Great Sand Dunes in southern Colorado.

Aurora Reservoir 

About a 30 mile drive southeast of Denver and you’ll come across the beautiful Aurora Reservoir. There you will find all kinds of recreational activities that your family can enjoy, both in and out of the water. Of course, you’ll run into plenty of swimming and fishing opportunities along the beach, but the reservoir also permits windsurfing, non-motorized boating, and even scuba diving. 

The park provides kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals, an archery range, and an 8 mile paved bike path. The reservoir is open for the season starting on Memorial Day until the end of September, with hours from 8 am to 4 pm.    

Blue Mesa Reservoir 

Blue Mesa Reservoir is huge! In fact, it’s the largest body of water in Colorado and with over 96 miles of shoreline. So if a quiet and remote beach experience is what you’re chasing after, this is it. The mountains and canyons in the area are absolutely stunning, naturally creating an ample amount of recreational activities for every kind of outdoor enthusiast. It’s an excellent fishing spot during the summer and winter, home to trophy-size lake trout and many other different species. 

Along with swimming and fishing, there’s windsurfing, waterskiing, sailing, and sunbathing. Tent and RV camping is something else you should consider looking into while you’re there. Blue Mesa Reservoir is situated between the towns of Gunnison and Montrose off of Highway 50.      

Boulder Reservoir

Considered to be one of the better beaches in the state, Boulder Reservoir is only about a 10 minutes drive from Central Boulder. The reservoir has designated swim areas. But if you head out just a bit further, you’ll see that there’s also canoeing, kayaking, and SUP (paddleboards) out on the water. They even offer SUP and SUP yoga lessons if it’s your first time.   

If you happen to catch the reservoir on a non-windy day, the majestic mountains in the backdrop will reflect on the water. This creates an epic snapshot. For those of you that would like to explore more of the surrounding Boulder region, there are over 155 miles of hiking trails scattered throughout the area.   

Chatfield Reservoir 

It’s not uncommon for Denver folk to flock to Chatfield Reservoir once the weekend arrives. This is their chance to escape everyday city life. Chatfield State Park is open from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Water activities include swimming, boating, and fishing, as well as biking and camping. The area has 197 campsites that are available for you to choose from. There are picnic tables and grills as well. Chatfield Reservoir is located about 24 miles south of Denver.   

Boaters enjoying Grand Lake.

Grand Lake 

Nestled in the town of Grand Lake and on the western side of the Rocky Mountain National Park are the beautiful blue waters of Grand Lake. It’s the largest, and deepest natural lake in the entire state. With surrounding mountain peaks it is far more than just a destination where you can dip your feet. During the summer months the water there is still fairly chilly, but you may find it refreshing after being out in the hot sun.    

Canoeing, paddleboarding, Seadoos, and other boating opportunities await you. The lake has a small pristine beach with a boardwalk that will take you to several different dining and shopping options in town.  

Jackson Lake State Park 

On countless occasions it’s been dubbed as “the oasis on the plains. The Jackson Lake State Park offers water sport enthusiasts activities such as fishing, swimming, boating, and waterskiing. 

The sandy beaches provide a relaxing place for sunbathers to kick back and relax, and an excellent spot for swimming.  Most visitors prefer to visit the park during the summer. But camping is available year-round, with activities such as hiking, biking, and ice fishing. The park is situated about an hour and a half to the east of Ft. Collins, in Orchard, Colorado.   

YouTube video

Medano Creek at Great Sand Dunes

You have to show up at just the right time of the year to experience Medano Creek at Great Sand Dunes. Because it’s only a beach for a short period of time. The creek bed begins to fill with water as the snow begins to melt from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in early spring. This rare phenomenon usually takes place between late May and early June. Providing only a coveted few with the ocean like experience of sunbathing next to the waves. While the kids build sandcastles.   

The Great Sand Dunes set behind snow capped mountains, green fields and a stream.
Snow capped mountains, green fields and a river, all as backdrop to the Great Sand Dunes.

Ridgway Reservoir 

Located within the Ridgway State Park, the Ridgway Reservoir is a 5-mile long reservoir. It boasts sandy beaches and amazing mountain scenery. Swimming, boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing are a few of the water activities that you can enjoy while visiting. But there are also camping opportunities, biking, and over 14 miles of hiking trails just waiting to be explored. There are two official spots around the reservoir designated for swimming, both the Dutch Charlie Swim beach and Dallas Creek.    

There you have it, fellow travelers. These are some of the finest beaches in Colorado. They not only have unique mountain scenery. But also lots of entertainment and other things for you to do in the area. Just remember to grab the sunscreen. Don’t forget plenty of towels, and a beach umbrella. Then your family is sure to have a great time this summer. Have you ever visited one of these beaches in Colorado?

Beaches in Colorado? Yes, there are!

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